At long last the estimated $1.1 billion saga of the Liberal Gas Plant Scandal is at an end. Justice Timothy Lipson ruled that Dalton McGuinty’s former chief of staff, David Livingston, was guilty of attempted mischief and illegal use of a computer. Liberal staffer Laura Miller was charged but found not guilty.
(We can argue over semantics all day, but the fact of the matter is the Liberals blew hundreds of millions of dollars of public money to save their own skins.)
You’re going to find quite a few timelines of this scandal that omit some of the most brutal details. Here, for your lack of enjoyment, are some of the worst moments:
October 24, 2011: The Liberals Continue Building The Power Plant After Promising to Move it
You knew this was going to be a under-covered scandal right from the get go when it took weeks for people to notice that just because the Liberals said they were going to move the plant, they hadn’t actually stopped construction. Read the coverage and marvel in the slightly bemused tone of the journalism, as if the writer knows something is up but won’t/can’t say so outright.
“You mean that the Liberals said something that wasn’t true? No way!”
October 23 2012: Whoops! We Found MORE Power Plant Documents After We Said We Released Them All… Honest Mistake!
So, the Legislature had been assured repeatedly that all power plant documents had been released only to be told that a poorly executed computer search had excluded 20,000 documents which were later made available. Predictably, the Opposition freaked out and accused the Liberals of lying, but nobody was ever blamed or fired or punished because incompetence is business as usual in Ontario politics.
June 25, 2013: McGuinty Blames The Whole Thing On A Conspiracy
In a gross display of Liberal false outrage, Dalton McGunity — who had already resigned — went before the Justice Committee and accused the Opposition of… you guessed it… using “political tactics.” (Because the idea of politicians being political is a bad thing, and because McGuinty wasn’t being political at all, no sir.) Hilariously, the ex-Premier also made this prediction: “The ultimate result and outcome of this investigation, I’m very confident what it’s going to be: no grounds for laying any changes of any kind.”
July 30, 2013: The Liberals Might Have Pressured Speaker Dave Levac To Not Find Chris Bentley In Contempt
For the longest time, Energy Minister Chris Bentley was looked at as next in line to succeed the leadership of the Ontario Liberals. Then the gas plant mess landed in his lap and a finding of contempt was brought against Mr. Bentley by Tim Hudak’s PC Party of Ontario, forcing him into retirement before he could be possibly found guilty. Emails showed that top Liberal strategists — including Laura Miller, who was narrowly found not guilty on Friday — were hoping that Levac would “change his mind” and that “we need better here.” The finding of contempt stood, and the Liberals looked like a bunch of hacks. Naturally the whole matter was dropped without consequence.
November 7 2017: The Liberals Try For Two Times Lucky
Shortly after the case against two Liberals in the Sudbury byelection scandal crumbled, the Liberals, deciding that the public was sick of all this scandal-mongering anyway, thought they could get a two-for-one deal and let things go back to the way they were. No such luck. They did, however, manage to get the biggest charge — breach of trust — dropped. Why didn’t they ask to have the charges dropped before the Sudbury scandal fell apart? Your guess is as good as mine.